The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order Jan. 13 blocking a federal vaccine mandate that would have required businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure that their employees are fully vaccinated or undergo regular testing and wear face masks.
The mandate was originally issued in November by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and was met with a flood of lawsuits challenging OSHA’s actions.
Unless a further order is issued by the Court, the vaccine mandate is blocked nationwide in its entirety, according to the Tire Industry Association. The Biden administration issued a statement after the Supreme Court ruling saying “it is now up to the states and individual employers to determine how to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees, and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers during this pandemic by requiring employees to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated.”
U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said he was “disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s decision, “which is a major setback to the health and safety of workers across the country.” He said OSHA will be evaluating all options to ensure workers are protected from COVID-19.
“We urge all employers to require workers to get vaccinated or tested weekly to most effectively fight this deadly virus in the workplace,” Walsh said. “Employers are responsible for the safety of their workers on the job, and OSHA has comprehensive COVID-19 guidance to help them uphold their obligation.”
In a statement issued in September when Biden first announced a federal vaccine mandate, National Small Business Association President Todd McCracken urged the administration to give ample consideration to how it would affect businesses.
“Small businesses first and foremost want the pandemic—and resulting economic challenges they’ve been facing—to end, and while we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated, making business police individual behavior could have adverse effects, particularly when it comes to business penalties and regulatory burdens.”